While the Fourth of July means great fun and celebrations for you, it’s not all fun and games for your pet. In fact, many of the items we associate with the celebration can derail your fun if your pet gets hold of them.

  • Food. Many of the foods we associate with the Fourth are not so good for our pets, and some are downright dangerous. Your pet’s digestive system is not well equipped to handle the rich, spicy foods that come off the grill, and items such as grapes and onions are toxic to him. It’s best to avoid sharing. A few special treats just for your pet can help him avoid the temptation to nibble when you’re not looking and can help you feel like your pet isn’t being left out of the fun. Small portions of lean grilled meat such as steak or chicken, dog-friendly grilled vegetables like sweet potato or zucchini or some fruit such as watermelon chunks or blueberries are all good choices.
  • Glow sticks and jewelry. The luminescent substance contained within these items is not highly toxic, but it still isn’t meant to be ingested and could cause excessive drooling or gastrointestinal irritation. While they could make it easier to find your pet in the dark, your pet’s propensity to chew on everything makes these a no-no for him.
  • Insect repellants. Avoid using human insect repellants on your pet since the risk of exposing him or her to chemicals, such as DEET, can be harmful. “Natural” insect repellants such as citronella are not very effective, and the impact of long-term exposure has not been studied. Ask us for pet-safe alternatives.
  • Heat. While a hot summer day is almost de rigueur in order to get us in the festive spirit, remember that pets can’t handle the heat as well as we can. Make sure you provide plenty of shade to help keep your pet cool and keep his bowl filled with fresh, cool water to drink.
  • Fire and fireworks. Besides the burn risk, the chemicals associated with BBQ grills and fireworks can be harmful to your pet. Your pet should be kept away from any open flame to avoid injuries, and you should also keep matches, lighters and lighter fluid out of his reach to avoid exposure to any of the chemicals they contain.
  • Aftermath. Before letting your pet out in the yard after the celebrations have concluded, check for and clean up any debris or food scraps that might be dangerous to him.